cloudhidden wrote:As a 0L I am confused by this article. Does this suggest that there will eventually only be enough big law spots for LR kids at T14,or am I reading way too far into it?
Definitely reading into it too far. There are maybe a total of ~500 on LR each year at the top schools, not all of whom even want biglaw. Even in the crash there were still probably 3,000-5,000 total entry level big law jobs. Even if many disappear, it will almost certainly never be that
There are also signs pointing in the opposite direction. Outsourcing and e-discovery and shit all represented huge changes in litigation, but there's some push-back now (i.e. things were done cheaply, then went wrong, then there were law suits).
bld17 wrote:So does anyone have a conjecture about which firms are "safe" and which firms to avoid?
The firms with the best reputations in each market are probably still quite "safe" - it's hard to draw fine lines though. Latham NY once had an amazing reputation, but a lot of it was either built on thing unrelated to firm health (i.e. "culture" or "niceness" of the lawyers) or something that proved to be unsustainable (i.e. expanding hard into structured finance right before it dried up completely in the recession).
One thing to realize about the 'race to the top' in the legal industry is that for the most complex and/or most critical work, lawyers are worth every penny of their occasionally 4-figure hourly billing rate. BP isn't going to balk at the staggering legal bills it gets from Kirkland, because Kirkland is the shit and their lawyers are basically the thin sleep-deprived line between BP and a bazillion angry gulf coast residents / businesses with a bazillion angry plaintiffs lawyers. The next major politician to get caught up in a criminal investigation is going to hire W&C, because their life will pretty much literally be on the line. If a company is engaging in make-or-break M&A transactions, they'll be smiling as they write out a novelty-sized check (so they can fit all the zeros) to Wachtell.
Having said that, conflicts and the clock mean there's never just one go-to firm for such matters, so for every legal practice and every market there will probably always be a small handful of firms that split up the best work and spend all of their time doing deals with or litigating against one another.